On Wednesday, the head of BP's Gulf Coast restoration unit told The Wall Street Journal the spill could be stopped as early as July 27, "weeks before the deadline the company is discussing publicly." The possibility was qualified as being "unlikely." Yesterday, the company backed away from the claim even more.

BP needn't worry, though; if the reactions online are anything to go by, few believed the new target date anyway.

  • 'Just Tell Us When It's Done,' writes the Chicago Tribune flatly, suggesting this will be the "collective reaction ... BP has lost its credibility on promises and projections. The company still hasn't adequately addressed a question that should have been answered at the start: Just how much oil has been spilling into the Gulf?" The editorial board calls all previous estimates "fishy," and says "it's a wonder anybody believes anything at all about the ongoing disaster."
  • Government Skeptical "Some anonymous man in the government says that July 27 date is too optimistic," points out Wonkette's Jack Stuef, "which is not a surprise, as everything has been too optimistic with this annoying oil spill that will never end."
  • 'Hasn't BP Consistently Overestimated Its Own Abilities?' asks New York Magazine's Dan Amira. " Like when it said it could skim and burn 491,721 barrels of oil a day, and ended up actually skimming only 305,238 barrels over the course of the entire cleanup effort?" He's glad the BP source admitted this new date was "unlikely," but suggests that it would be nice to have BP underestimate itself for a change, so "we can be pleasantly surprised by BP just one time."
  • The Reason for the Revision "His optimism," explains Douglas McIntyre at DailyFinance, "was based on new equipment that has been rushed to the area of the leak. If the well can be capped sooner, this will obviously help BP contain the costs of the spill."
  • The Real Question: 'What's the Backup Plan?' Tiernan Ray, writing for Barron's, focuses on a different part of the Wall Street Journal Story--the part where it's reported that "BP is quietly preparing backup plans in case the company's two relief wells fail ..."